Breckland Council completes inquiry after confidential document about Barnham Broom Hotel was posted on its reception noticeboard in Dereham

A confidential document about rent negotiations with a country club was put up innocently on a prominent noticeboard in a Norfolk council's front reception, an inquiry has found.

The investigation by Breckland Council – which was launched after a photograph of the notice was sent to the EDP – has discovered that a member of staff displayed the briefing paper after it was left in a tray with posters which were supposed to be put up.

But it remains unclear if the document had been put in the tray accidentally or maliciously.

As reported in the EDP last week, the document – concerning the council-owned Barnham Broom complex – was put on the board in a case next to the main staff entrance at Breckland Council's headquarters in Dereham.

Maxine O'Mahoney, Breckland's director of commissioning, has conducted the investigation and interviewed 25 members of staff and councillors as well as looking at CCTV footage of people in the reception and also gone through e-mails.


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The inquiry did not discover who had taken the photograph and sent it.

Mrs O'Mahoney said following the incident, procedures had been reviewed and all documents which were confidential would have to be clearly marked in the future.

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'I have done a full investigation and I believe I have done everything I can and there is no further work to be done.'

The document had been written by a senior council officer for a cabinet member and gave an update on negotiations between Breckland and Barnham Broom over the rent agreement.

Mrs O'Mahoney said Breckland had spoken to Barnham Broom about the incident and the country club 'was comfortable that the inquiry had gone as far as it could'.

She said the inquiry had not cost the council any extra money and no external officials were used.

Breckland bought the complex for �8m several years ago as an investment and a rent level was agreed with Barnham Broom.

That figure has never been made public 'for commercial reasons' but the council has always insisted it is above the rate which they would get in a bank.

It is hoped that the negotiations could help to secure future expansion at Barnham Broom.

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